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Free as in loader

August 13, 2019

One of the discussions in the software community is around the different meanings of free: is that free as in beer, or free as in speech? But there’s another type of free that also relates to many of software’s users: free as in loader. That’s the group of users that complains how a $2 app is overpriced, and they’d never pay that much.

It’s trendy at the moment to complain about software that adopts the freemium (particularly the pay to play) model or relies on advertising for income. But guess what: if you refuse to pay for apps, those are the models that you’re driving developers to use. Developers need to make a living too; they’re not writing all that amazing software just out of the goodness of their hearts. Developers would largely be more than happy to just charge a one-time price that gives them a fair profit. But if you refuse to pay for apps, then developers must find other ways to make money. Hence freemium and ads.

So the next time you’re ready to complain about how if you’re not the customer you’re the product, consider why you aren’t the customer. If it’s because you don’t want to pay but still want to use the service, what exactly did you expect to happen?

From → Culture, Software

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